Below is a picture of The American LaFrance. This picture was taken on the day of delivery which was on Aug. 15, 1965. The
following are the names of the City Council Members and some of the Firefighter's from left to right.
Louis Skelton, Dick Hedrick, Frank Kirsten, Virgil Cane, Freddi Garmen, Hargis Gibbs.
The earliest known fire service in Rockport was 1898. In that year Rockport used what was called the Leather Bucket Brigade.
What that consisted of was a group of men that used buckets made of leather to carry water to the fire.
In between 1898 and 1921 Rockport acquired a city water system. Within that time Rockport also acquired a spring wagon that
was pulled by a horse to carry the hose to the fire. In 1919 members of the Fire Dept. were Louis Skelton, Henry Skelton,
Charlie Fiegel, John Langdon, John Enlow Sr., Hershel Schumauker, & Bill Netzel. The fire station at that time was operated
out of a Livery Stable were Stock Chevrolet is today.
In the 1920's the Rockport Fire Dept. would take
a step in what was at the time a more modern era of firefighting. Rockport purchased its first motorized fire truck. The truck
was a 1921 Model T Ford equipped with a two piston pump and a hand cranked siren.
As time passed Rockport
progressed into its future. It grew for 14 yrs. before the Fire Dept. purchased another fire truck. In 1935 Rockport purchased
a 1935 Seagrave fire truck. It had an open cab which meant you had no protection from the elements of the weather. The Seagrave,
though not in use today, is a our firestaion.
Between the 1930's & 1940's the firemen were alarmed
of a fire by a steam whistle located not to far from where the fire station is today. They used this method until they started
using the phone. They would call the operator and she would contact the firemen and tell them where the fire was.
After awhile it was decided to put a phone in the Fire Chiefs' home to use for contacting the firemen when there was
a fire. At the time, Louis Skelton was the Fire Chief. His wife Eva Skelton would answer the phone which was used only in
emergencies, she would then sound the alarm which we know as the Tornado Alarm. The firemen would report to the fire station
where they would have someone meet them there and inform them where the fire was located.
In 1946 Rockport
purchased a 1946 Ford. After using the Ford for some 19 yrs. the city of Rockport purchased a 1965 American LaFrance. This
fire truck is known to any and everyone who has anything to do with the fire service as being the fire truck of all fire trucks.
This truck was capable of pumping large amounts of water. It was remembered that at one time the truck had six lines being
used on the truck to fight a fire. The pump on this truck actually drew all the water away from a hydrant that another fire
truck was hooked up to.
Around this time the fire service started using pagers to alert the firemen of
Back then, they didn't have bunker pants, jackets, boots or helmets. They didn't have SCBA's
either. An SBCA is a self contained breathing apparatus. They wore whatever they had on at the time. Today, we wear bunker
gear over our clothes, and SCBA's and sometimes more protective clothing than that. They did get bunker gear around 1965.
As the times have changed, one thing remains the same, we all had, and still have a commitment
and a goal. To save homes, businesses, land, and most of all human lives. It's not easy to be a FireFighter. If anyone
tells you that it is, well, they obviously haven't been in our boots. I would like to Thank YOU, the community, for all your
help. Without the donations, food, prayers and love we wouldn't be able to Protect and Serve You! And that's, why we're
I want to thank everyone who has read this and ask that you keep us in your thoughts
and prayers when we are called out. Sincerly, Dinah Dohoney